Current MLS Betting Lines and Odds

Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and in recent years, it has begun to take a foothold in the United States and join the “four major team sports” of football, baseball, basketball, and hockey.

In 1993, as part of the U.S.’s bid to host the 1994 FIFA World Cup, Major League Soccer was formed. The league began play in 1996 with 10 teams. Just six years later, its future was bleak. The league dropped two clubs and was losing millions of dollars.

What began to turn things around was the “designated player rule.” In short, it allows the league to compete for international talent. When the MLS signed David Beckham on January 11, 2007, it marked a turning point in the league’s popularity. Since then, television deals are driving revenue, soccer-specific stadiums are being built for most teams, and the league has expanded. There are now 28 clubs: 25 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada.

MLS now has some of the youngest viewership demographics in the U.S. Its increased popularity has allowed North America (U.S., Canada, and Mexico) to succeed in its bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

While the NFL is the king of the betting landscape in the United States, soccer is the most popular sport to wager on worldwide. With the rising popularity of MLS, there are plenty of opportunities to not only bet on Major League Soccer but to do so intelligently and profit from it.

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MLS Futures Odds

2022 USA MLS Cup Futures Odds

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LAFC
Philadelphia Union
New York City FC
Austin FC
New York Red Bulls
Montreal Impact
Nashville SC
Seattle Sounders FC
Minnesota United FC
Toronto FC
LA Galaxy
FC Dallas
Orlando City SC
Columbus Crew
New England Revolution
Charlotte FC
FC Cincinnati
Real Salt Lake
Vancouver Whitecaps
Atlanta United FC

How to Read Sports Betting Odds Video

Chapters

  1. MLS Bets
  2. MLS Betting Events
  3. When to Bet on MLS Matches
  4. Popular Teams
  5. MLS Betting Strategies

MLS Major League Soccer Bets

Soccer may be a low-scoring sport, but there are quite a few ways to place a bet on a soccer match. Some require more explanation than others, particularly the Asian Handicap.

Moneyline Bet

The moneyline is a simple bet where you try and predict the final outcome of the match. Wager on either team to win or choose a draw with a 3-way moneyline bet.
You can also wager on either team to win with a 2-way moneyline bet. With this bet, a draw would result in a push and your bet being refunded.

3-Way Moneyline Bet

The 3-way moneyline is one of the most popular bets due to draws being a consistent outcome in soccer. You can choose either team to win or bet on a draw.

Sportsbooks determine the likelihood of each outcome along with how the public might bet on a matchup to set the odds. If the public takes more action on one of the three outcomes than expected, sportsbooks will adjust the odds accordingly.

3-Way Moneyline Example

D.C. United -165
New England Revolution +450
Draw +330

In this example, D.C. United winning is the most likely outcome. The minus sign before the odds indicates their status as the betting favorite. A minus before the number means you have to risk $165 to win $100 on D.C.

A plus sign ahead of the odds indicates an underdog outcome. A bet on New England to win is the most unlikely result according to oddsmakers. A Revolution win would pay $450 on a $100 bet.

The odds for a draw in this case are +330, so bet $100 to win $330 in the event of a tie.

Note that 3-way moneyline odds can all have plus values. When this occurs, the favorite would be the lowest value.

In the following example, New York City FC is the +115 favorite. LA is +250, so a Galaxy win is considered slightly less likely than a draw at +245.

New York City FC +115
LA Galaxy +250
Draw +245

2-Way Moneyline Bet (aka “Tie No Bet”)

As we touched on above, the 2-way moneyline bet means there are two outcomes instead of three. This bet takes the draw out of the equation, as you would get your initial bet amount back in case of a tie. Hence, this bet is also called a 2-Way Tie No Bet.

2-Way Moneyline Bet Example

D.C. United -425
New England Revolution +310

Using the same game as our first 3-way moneyline example, you’ll see that you would have to risk a lot more to win the same amount on a bet for D.C. United. That’s because a draw isn’t a losing outcome here.

Since a draw isn’t a negative for a bettor on the 2-way moneyline, you would have to risk more to back the favored team. In this case, it’s $425 on D.C. to win $100. If the match is a draw, you get your $425 bet back.

On the other side, you’re also protected against a draw by betting on the Revolution. The payout for a New England win decreases to $310 on a $100 bet. Again, if the final result is a draw, you get your $100 bet back.

No MLS Game Market Live Example TBD: Check back soon!

Totals Bet (Over-Under)

A totals bet is where oddsmakers set a specific number of goals to be scored in the match. You bet whether the final result will be over or under that number.

It’s important to note that the number set for a totals bet isn’t the number of goals oddsmakers think will be scored. Rather, it’s the number of goals oddsmakers think will cause equal betting on both sides of their line. This ensures a sportsbook doesn’t take too much of a loss on a certain result.

Totals Bet Example

Toronto FC 2.5 o -110
Columbus Crew 2.5 u -110

Here, you would be betting on whether the total number of goals in this match will go over or under 2.5.

The -110 next to each number indicates the odds. You would need to bet $110 to win $100 in either case. Sometimes, oddsmakers will adjust the odds if they believe betting on one side will be heavier than the other.

You’ll notice that the odds here are the same for each side. In either case, you have to risk more than you can win. This $10 difference is called the vig or juice. Sportsbooks use losing bets to pay the winners.

When there’s an equal amount of betting on each side, the book gets a profit of $10 on each losing bet. Think of the vig as a service fee. It allows the sportsbook a better chance to profit and also ensures that your bet will be paid out in case you win.

Asian Handicap – Goal Line Bet (Soccer Point Spread)

The Asian handicap, or goal line bet, is placing a wager on the matchup with a point spread like a hockey puck line or baseball run line. Teams are typically favored by half goal, but more lopsided matchups have been known to have spreads of 1.5 or 2.5 on the goal line.

Asian Handicap – Goal Line Bet Example

Colorado Rapids -0.5 -110
Orlando City SC +0.5 -110

In this example, a bet on Colorado would only be successful if the Rapids win by 1 or more goals.

Betting on Orlando City gives you two ways to win. If the Lions win outright, you win. If the final result is a draw, you also win. That +0.5 goal line means Orlando City can’t lose by more than 1 goal. It includes the possibility of a draw.

If the goal line were -1.5 in favor of Colorado, the bet would only be a winner if the Rapids were to win the match by two or more goals.

Asian Handicap Split Bet (Split Goal Line Bet)

Asian handicap split lines, or split goal lines, are written in quarter goal increments of 0.25 or 0.75. Examples include 0.25, 0.75, 1.25 or 1.75.

Whenever you see a split line, you’re actually making 2 bets at once. Your wager will be equally split between the two closest half line numbers with the same odds.

Asian Handicap Split Bet Example

Here’s how a $120 bet on CF Montreal with a -0.75 -120 Asian handicap split bet works.

CF Montreal -0.75 -120
Chicago Fire +0.75 +100

The closest half number below -0.75 is -1, so $60 goes for Montreal -1. The closest half number above -0.75 is -0.5. The other $60 goes to Montreal by -0.5.

The -120 odds is what determines your winning payout. Remember, a minus value is how much you risk to win $100. In this case, you are risking $120 total to win a $100 split between two different lines.

If both bets win, you get $50 for each totaling $100. If one wins and one pushes, you get $50 plus $60 refunded. And if both lose, you get $0.

Asian Handicap Split Bet Detailed Example

How much you win or lose on the Asian handicap split bet depends on the game’s final outcome. Here’s how your bet on Montreal -0.75 at -120 odds plays out.

Montreal wins by 2 or more goals
Both bets win. Montreal’s 2 goal victory is greater than each bet at -0.5 and -1.

The $120 bet to win $100 was split $60 each for Montreal -0.5 and Montreal -1. You win $50 each for a total of $100.

Montreal wins by 1 goal
Montreal by -0.5 wins, Montreal by -1 pushes. In this case, Montreal’s 1 goal victory is only greater than the bet at -0.5.

Your $120 bet to win $100 was split 2 ways for $60 on each line, -0.5 and -1. You win $50 on the bet against -0.5 and get $60 refunded for the push against -1. Total win: $50.

Montreal draws or loses outright
Both bets lose. A draw means a 0-goal margin of victory over Chicago, and 0 is less than both -0.5 and -1.

You lose the $60 against -0.5 and the $60 against -1. Total loss: $120.

Futures Bet

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Futures Bet Example

2022 MLS Cup Winner
Team Odds
Los Angeles FC +340
New York City FC +650
Philadelphia Union +900
New York Red Bulls +1000
New England Revolution +1300
Seattle Sounders +1600
LA Galaxy +1600
Austin FC +1600

Unless one team is a heavy favorite to win a championship, most teams will have plus odds. So the smallest number would indicate the favorite.

For 2022, LA FC is considered the most likely champion. A $100 bet on them would net $320 if they were to win the title. Teams like Seattle, the LA Galaxy, and Austin are less likely to win. Their payouts are much better if they in fact do.

Odds can get extremely long on teams that are considered to be the worst in the league. For 2022, D.C. United, Chicago Fire, and Sporting Kansas City are all at +19000.

You typically can bet on futures as soon as the previous season ends. As the year progresses, a variety of factors will influence and change the odds throughout the season. Things that affect futures odds include players joining and leaving a team, injuries, and how the team performs during the season.

MLS Major Events

MLS Cup Playoffs

While the Premier League and other top soccer organizations around the world crown a champion solely on regular-season results, the MLS uses a playoff format that’s typical for major North American sports.

The current format is a single-elimination tournament that calls for the top-seven teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences to meet in the playoffs. Six of the seven teams in each conference play in the first round, with the top-seeded team in the East and West receiving a bye into the next round.

For the conference semifinals, the team with a bye hosts the lower-seeded team while the other two teams square off. The winners of those matches meet in the conference finals.

There are no draws in playoff matches. If a match is tied after regulation, 30 minutes of extra time is conducted in two 15-minute periods. If the teams are still tied, a penalty kick shootout begins.

MLS Cup

The winners of the Eastern and Western Conferences meet in the MLS Cup to determine the league’s champion. The event used to be held at a neutral site determined in advance, similar to the Super Bowl. But since 2012, the team with the higher regular-season point total has hosted the MLS Cup match.

The winner, if it is a United States-based team, also has the right to play in the CONCACAF Champions League, an annual tournament that features club teams from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Canadian teams have a different method of qualifying for the tournament.

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When to Bet on MLS Matches

Futures Bet

We talked earlier about futures bets for the MLS Cup earlier. You can also place futures bets on conference champions and even on what’s called the Supporters’ Shield.

The Supporters’ Shield is awarded to the team that finishes the regular season with the most points. The MLS scoring system awards three points for a win, one for a draw, and zero for a loss. Like the MLS Cup champion, the winner of the Supporters’ Shield (if it is a U.S.-based team) also advances to the CONCACAF Champions League.

When to Bet

Teams in MLS typically play once per week. Different betting strategies dictate whether to bet on a match early or wait until closer to kickoff.

If you are really familiar with the teams, you can check the early odds and determine if there is value on a particular outcome. Review how one team has played against the other, recent matchup results, and player injuries. Jumping on a bad line can give you great value before the oddsmakers fix their mistake.

Waiting until closer to kickoff gives you time for any late injuries or other news to develop that could affect the match result.

Single-Game Alternatives

We discussed the variety of bets you can make during the regular season, but that changes a bit for the MLS Cup Playoffs.

Even though there are no ties, there is still a 3-way moneyline bet option. This bet takes just the first 90 minutes of a regulation match into account. For instance, here are the odds from the 2021 MLS Cup matchup:

Portland +180
New York City FC +150
Draw +210

A 2-way moneyline bet is just a bet on who will win the match with extra time and penalty kicks included. A draw after 90 minutes is not a possible result on this bet. The 2-way moneyline odds for the championship in 2021 were as follows:

Portland -120
New York City FC -115

For reference, the match was tied 1-1 after regulation, so a draw was the winning bet on the 3-way moneyline. New York FC won the match 4-2 in the penalty shootout, making them the winning club on the 2-way moneyline.

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Popular MLS Teams

LA Galaxy

Throughout the course of MLS history, the LA Galaxy have been the most successful team by a number of metrics. The team has the most MLS Cups (5) and is tied for the most Supporter Shields (4) in league history. It also has the most social media followers among MLS clubs.

The Galaxy was one of the original 10 MLS teams. It was the second to build its own soccer-specific stadium–Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, which holds 27,000 fans.

LA reached the MLS Cup final in the inaugural season of 1996. It won MLS Cups in 2002 and ’05 and then three more in a four-year span (2011, ’12, and ’14). Its most successful head coach was Bruce Arena, who won 166 games and three titles from 2008-16 before going to coach the U.S. men’s national team.

The club’s most famous player worldwide was David Beckham. But American Landon Donovan is the Galaxy’s top goal-scorer and a four-time MLS MVP.

New York City FC

While the New York RedBulls (originally the New York/New Jersey Metrostars) were the area’s first MLS team, New York City FC has the city’s only MLS Cup, defeating Portland in 2021. Co-owned by Manchester City of the Premier League and MLB’s New York Yankees, NYC FC began play in 2015 and uses Yankee Stadium as its home.

The team quickly jumped into the top 10 in MLS in value and support (as of 2019), and the “Bronx Blues” have the second-most social media support in the league.

The top goal-scorer for the club in each of its first four seasons was David Villa, who holds the team record with 80. The offensive star of the 2021 championship team was Valentin Castellanos.

Seattle Sounders

Seattle came into MLS in 2009 and has been racking up honors consistently. The Sounders are a two-time MLS Cup champion (2016 and ’19) and added a CONCACAF Champions League trophy to its case in 2022. Seattle also consistently has some of the highest attendance figures in the league, routinely averaging over 40,000 fans as Lumen Field, the home of the NFL’s Seahawks.

The club’s all-time leading goal scorer is Fredy Montero, who has a total of 74 tallies from 2009-12 and another stint with the team that started in 2021. Raul Ruidiaz has been on the team since 2018 and has 69 goals as of mid-2022, including nine in the MLS Cup playoffs. Clint Dempsey, one of America’s best soccer players, was on the Sounders from 2013-18 and helped the team win its first MLS Cup.

D.C. United

D.C. United has struggled in recent years but was the most dominant team in MLS’s first decade of operation. The club won three of the first four MLS Cups (1996-97, ’99) and won a fourth in 2004. It also has four Supporters Shields and won the CONCACAF Champions Cup in 1998.

Former LA Galaxy and U.S. men’s national team coach Bruce Arena was the head coach from 1996-98 and remains its most-decorated coach.

Jaime Moreno was on all four MLS Cup-winning teams and is the team’s leading goal scorer with 162, including playoffs and other tournaments. He was the first player in MLS history to log 100 goals and 100 assists. He also ranks fourth in MLS history with 133 league goals.

After leading the team in goals in 2018 and ’19, English soccer star Wayne Rooney took over as head coach of the Black-and-Red in 2022.

Atlanta United

Atlanta United didn’t start play in MLS until 2017, but it has taken the league by storm. In its short history, it already owns a MLS Cup and leads the league in attendance. The team shares Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the NFL’s Falcons, both of whom are owned by Arthur Blank, and an MLS attendance record was set for the 2018 MLS Cup with 73,019 fans in attendance. The club, however, scales back the capacity to 42,500 for most matches, and it routinely sells all tickets.

The team’s star is Josef Martinez, who led the team in goals in four of its first five years of play, scoring a total of 87 regular-season MLS goals and an even 100 in all of the club’s matches.

Gerardo Martino was The Five Stripes’ coach in its first two seasons before departing to coach the Mexican national team. Gonzalo Pineda, who also has ties to Mexican soccer, is the club’s current head coach.

MLS Betting Handicapping Strategies

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Research Teams to Simulate Game Odds

The MLS is not among the most popular sports to wager on in the US, despite 70% of all sports bets around the world being placed on soccer. By becoming a close follower of the league, or even a handful of teams, you can use knowledge to your advantage and beat the sportsbooks at their own game.

Oddsmakers use statistics and trends to set lines. If you’re ardently following even just three or four teams you will have more inherent knowledge of them than the oddsmakers.

Set your own lines before odds are set for a particular match, whether it be totals or a 2-way or 3-way moneyline. If there’s a big disparity between your odds and what the sportsbook posts, then take advantage by placing a bet on it.

Know What Home Field Advantage Is Worth

Soccer game scoring is limited. Therefore, any scoring advantage is in your favor. In statistics compiled from the league’s start through 2019, home-field advantage meant more in MLS than in any other major soccer league in the world.

MLS vs European Soccer Home Team Goal Differentials
MLS vs European Soccer Home Team Goal Differentials

(Graph Courtesy: https://twitter.com/etmckinley)

This graph shows that not only does the MLS have the highest goal differential for home teams (between 0.50 and 0.75 goals per match in most years), it is the only soccer league in the world where the goal differential is trending up toward the home team.

Knowing this, home-field advantage is a huge factor in MLS matches. Carefully follow home vs away splits. Use this data to take advantage of the odds by making a well-placed bet on a team to win on the road. In this case, the oddsmakers might be overvaluing the home team’s ability to win, making an underdog win more likely and highly profitable.

Exploit Public Bias

Use public biases to increase the value of your bets. Most bets by casual fans are made in favor of the popular teams, and MLS is no exception. A quick scroll up this page will let you know what the popular teams are. It’s likely that matches involving those teams will see more action from the public going in their direction.

Because more bets come in on more popular teams, oddsmakers will nudge odds in favor of teams opposing these clubs. A bet on an opposing team may offer higher value, especially if you determine that they have a real chance to win.

Another popular public bias is on the totals bet. Casual bettors like scoring and want to root for goals. They gravitate towards taking the over. However, if your research suggests a lower number of goals than the current total line, grab the value and take the under.

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